Become a Master Gardener

Join Us!

Application
Commitment
Training
Internship
Certification
Advanced Training

A love of gardening, a search for knowledge and a desire to share that knowledge with others is central to why people join the Master Gardener program. They remain Master Gardeners to enjoy the friendship of others who share their interests, to gain and share research-based horticultural knowledge and to give back to the community through their volunteer commitment.

If combining your passion for people and plants sounds appealing, you may be a good Master Gardener candidate. A formal education in horticulture isn’t necessary—we will provide the training and resources to help you teach others. There are five steps to becoming a Master Gardener – each step is described in more detail below:

Application

To become a University of Minnesota Master Gardener in Douglas County, you must first apply and be accepted into the program. The application process starts early—we begin sending out applications in August.

Commitment

You agree to volunteer service in exchange for training from the University of Minnesota. You also agree to participate in Douglas County Master Gardener meetings, where you receive continuing education and learn about new projects and other volunteer opportunities. To learn more about the kinds of activities you could participate in as a Master Gardener, visit the Douglas County Master Gardener Activities page of this site.

Training

Training is held once each year in the metropolitan area in January and February, and on select dates at other state-wide locations as well as online. Master Gardeners attend a 50-hour class from the University of Minnesota known as the "Core Course" or Horticulture 1003 if taken for U of M credit. The course is taught by Extension faculty, and a textbook and mini-reference library are provided to each participant. For more information about the Core Course training, including times, locations, fees, and specific course content, visit the Minnesota Master Gardener page.

Internship

Following completion of Core Course Training, Douglas County Master Gardener interns are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work and 5 hours of continuing education during their internship year (which ends December 31). We make an effort to ensure that our new interns are placed with other, more seasoned volunteers and we assign a mentor to each new intern.  So whether you volunteer at an “Ask a Master Gardener” event, the Diagnostic Clinic or another event, you’ll be with knowledgeable, helpful people who will make sure you’re not on your own.  You’ll have fun—and you will learn a lot!

Certification

You’ll receive a certificate and name badge designating you as a Master Gardener once you have completed the Core Course and fulfilled your internship requirements.

Remaining Certified: once certified, Master Gardeners in Douglas County must volunteer a minimum of 25 hours and receive at least 5 hours of approved continuing education each year in order to maintain their certification.

Advanced Training

After you are certified, you are eligible to attend other training programs and workshops. These courses offer more technical information. Advanced training opportunities include:

Make Your Application!

If this program is one that sounds like a good fit for you, call the Douglas County Extension office (320-762-3890) or talk to you favorite Master Gardener and let them help you get started.